Island Lake with blades of green grass in the front on a nice sunny day

Barrier-Free Community Awards presented by Access Orangeville

May 29, 2018 | General

Three organizations in Orangeville have received Barrier-Free Community Awards for 2018. Councillor Gail Campbell, Chair of Access Orangeville, presented the awards at the May 28 meeting of Orangeville Council.

St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church was selected to receive an award due to exterior and interior improvements designed to improve accessibility. Design changes included removing curbs and reconstructing walkways to make them flush with the pavement, and the addition of tactile sidewalk panels at each entrance, along with additional accessible parking spaces near entrances. On the interior, an elevator was installed to allow access from the main level of the church to the hall upstairs.

Theatre Orangeville has made barrier-removing improvements over several years, both to the structure of the Opera House itself, as well as to its performance options. The theatre company introduced some relaxed performances and interactive experiences for parents and infants. Theatre Orangeville is currently awaiting delivery of a state-of-the-art projector that will increase the opportunities for the visually impaired, as well as offer increased creative opportunities to Opera House rental groups. Theatre Orangeville has a powered lift device to make the Orangeville Opera House stage fully accessible and enhanced listening devices to provide hearing assistance. Accessible enhancements were made to the Opera House in recent years, including the removal of stairs (replaced with sloped aisles), installation of new seats that afford more legroom, seat width and moveable armrests for easy transfer, and a seating reconfiguration which now incorporates 16 wheelchair spaces. Handrails have been added to the balcony area.

Tweedsmuir Memorial Presbyterian Church has been recognized for renovations made to the historic church, geared toward improving accessibility. Through the installation of a lift at the north entrance, members of the community using wheelchairs, walkers and baby strollers may now easily access the building. A power door opener was installed at the north entrance, along with changes to the walkway to raise it to the level of the door, to facilitate entry into the church. A new accessible washroom was constructed in a former meeting room space. The front of the sanctuary was opened up, and a platform installed for concerts.

“These three local organizations are all richly deserving of awards this year for their efforts to improve accessibility for all members of the community,” said Councillor Gail Campbell. “This kind of forward thinking provides a positive example to all organizations in Orangeville, and is what sets our Town apart in its population class of communities in Ontario.”